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-   -   Rocktron Piranha review / rant (http://metaltabs.com/forum/showthread.php?t=35673)

Jopop 2007-02-10 16:39

Rocktron Piranha review / rant
 
All right, so i got tired of my Engl 530. The 530 is by all means a great preamp - but it sounds pretty thin and lacks a bit of low mids and bass for my tastes, plus i felt there could be a tad more gain in it. The sound was crystal clear and tight as a mother fucker though, but the distortion was a little too buzzy-metallic-chainsaw like for me, and it's wasn't real punchy and lively at 16th note palm mute runs, rather flat, boring and lifeless. I thought the leads were pretty fucking amazing though, if you've ever heard Necrophagist, it pretty much sums the preamp up - crappy rhythm tones, insanely good lead. Clean was all right, never distorted (?), but felt thin and just not full enough.

So i lived thinking i had this kickass preamp when i one day found out about the Rocktron Piranha. Yes, it is manufactured by a company known to press shit, but in the old days, they kicked ass. Made in the USA, very well regulated heaters, solid power supply with a torodial transformer, sensible board layout etc. Quality straight through - there are some minor shortcomings like cheap opamps but i doubt you'll hear that they are cheap when your guitar signal is being distorted to hell by the tubes. Easy setting of parameters - these are regular potmeters like you're used to and the setting you're adjusting is displayed in realtime on the display(s). The built in noise gate is VERY good - they based the ISP decimator on this circuit, if that tells you anything. Gobs and gobs of gain - I had it on dist channel 1 with gain maxed and thought the gain was pretty much enough, a tad bit more than the 530, but hey - press it one more time and there's even more saturated mayhem, it's so much fucking gain you won't believe it. Yes, it does exceed usability - but there's no problem since the pot's aren't too sensitive to adjustments so if you really want the sound of 57 metal zones chained together into a 5150 with full gain on you can have it (this statement may be exaggerated).

Now, some VERY BASIC character of the channels - There's so much tweakability in this thing you can make each channel sound like something completely different, but each control on noon and the mid freq. pot on anything (doesn't matter with a flat EQ) it's something like this:

Clean: Well, reminds me a lot of a Marshall superlead - on low gain, before distortion the clean tone is very warm, full and sparkly - and if you tweak it you can have every amp in the world. Higher distortion rages from AC/DC on to VERY authentic Black Sabbath tones if that tells you anything - round, chunky bottom end (not so tight). Also does a very convincing AC30 tone if you turn the mid pot up to "2" and the mid freq. to to around 400 or so. Iron Maiden tone deluxe. Very dynamic - you can go from super clean with finger picking to raging Iron Maiden when picking hard with a pick. No compression, very organic. Took me 15 minutes (pretty long) to dial in a Twin Reverb tone - my sister's BF tried this setting today and he just couldn't stop playing, he was almost in tears that's how good that clean is. The volume on the clean channel might fuck up though since you need to run the gain so low the volume will suffer, that's a bitch.

Distortion: Haven't used this one too much, but the gain, tightness, punchyness, response etc. is on level with say a JCM800 or 900, and as i said, you can tweak it to become anything with the mid freq. band.

Distortion w/Flashing light: High gain mayhem - Gain goes to higher than I've ever heard on record, basic tone with everything neutral is somewhat like a tightened recto, but holds it's own. Tight character in the bass which can be untightened a bit by going ape shit with the bass and setting the mids to 250hz. and setting mids at 5 or so. This is what every modeling amp wants to be, you can dial in a bass/mid/treble setting you like and then sweep the mid freq. pot around to create anything from the shit-thin tone from the first Darkthrone record to the super ultra bassy tight tone on Suffocation's Effigy of the Forgotten. I have failed to find a tone that this thing cannot come VERY close to - and most tones it can NAIL, believe me. There's just NO limitation in this thing as far as tone shaping goes, so i guess if it can't nail something it's either your poweramp, cab, or pickups. Clarity is very good with gain and scoop on insane levels - if you go past extremely insane levels (i usually go to about insane to maniac) it drops some, but what the hell, nobody uses that much gain. Harmonics are top notch and it's SO FUCKING PUNCHY! Even palm muted open strings just fucking punch you in the chest, not like that dry boring shit the Engl had. Notes jump out of this thing and the sustain is KILLER, but the noise reduction can kill it so you have to be careful and adjust it carefully. It's so lively and fun to play it's fucking unbelieveable..

The only thing i can think of that's negative is that it has so much tweaking possibility you can go mad. It's midi capable, can you can control mostly everything via CC too so this thing also has somewhat of a wah effect - boost the mids, and map the mid freq. pot to an expression pedal on your board and wah away. Also, one more con, the volume issue with super-clean tone. Maybe it's just me, but it is sort of annoying, maybe it could be tweaked out.

And some guys might not like this - but it's a hybrid amp. The signal is amplified very high, but clean, by solidstate stuff then run to the tubes for distortion. Could've fooled me for sure, it sounds way more tube than the 530 i had..

Will be more ranting.. just my GF is pissed since i promised I'd watch a movie with her but instead I'm sitting here typing..

Soeru 2007-02-10 19:05

Cool to hear that! Just one question man, does the Engl 620 sound just as thin as the 530 or does it have more balls than said?

John Holland 2007-02-11 02:56

Also, what else are you running the Piranha through?

Jopop 2007-02-11 04:33

Soeru: No idea. It might be that it just didn't like my pickups / power amp / cab too, you really have to try it yourself and see.

The piranha goes through a Carvin Tube 100 w/ JJ KT77's.
.. And a 2x12 ported cab with G12T-75's (these are probably going to be replaced sometime soon..)

Will be clips

Um.. i need a song or riff that's tuned in E.. Thing is, last time i bought strings i bought 010's since i THOUGHT they would do good tuned to D, since i was used to 011's and i had a crapload of them i had always played them but they were a little hard, esp. the lighter strings, lol my fingers would be nearly bleeding.. But what the hell, they were too sloppy for heavy riffage, but okay for soloing.. trus rod was fine.. i should start buying those composite sets GHS sells or something.. So now i have to be in E since i don't have anything but 010's.. :p

Soeru 2007-02-11 06:17

How about Sodom - Nuclear Winter. \m/

Jopop 2007-02-11 06:31

I just tuned down to D and did a full adjustment, it's pretty decent but still a little sluggish, feel it lacks some "punch" :P

Anyway, do you think Ernie Ball Skinny Top Heavy Bottom would be a good bet? There's Elixir 010 on it now, and the top three are a little loose, i like a really tight feel on those. It doesn't buzz or rattle unless i really hit them, but i don't like the loose feel..

Soeru 2007-02-11 08:24

Nah those Ernie Balls are pretty lame, they sound great the first week or two, then they turn to mush.

My favorites for D are Dean Markleys 52-11's, you don't get any better than that. Tight as hell, bright and they last long. Comes with both an unwound and wound G string too.

Jopop 2007-02-11 10:03

But i want a looser feel on the more trebly ones :/ And which ones do you mean, Dean Markley has like 754 different types?

Edit, uhm, would Nickel Steel Electric Guitar Strings Light Top Heavy Bottom 2504B - 10 13 17 30 42 52 be any good? Or do you mean the blue steels which don't come in an heavy bottom light top package ><

Valtiel 2007-02-11 11:31

If you can find them, DR 10-50's are my favorite "skinny top heavy bottom" set. I use them on my PRS, perfect feel. D'Addario 10-52's are great aswell.

Jopop 2007-02-11 11:37

Kickass, i will be getting those 10-52's then i guess.

Virus 2007-02-11 12:56

DR strings are fucking shit, they sound good in the beginning but they break fucking fast (I have some cheap Vinci strings currently 009-048 and I've tuned them to fucking A and they never break, been using them for over a month now).

I can't recommend anything though as I've only tried DR, D'addario, Vinci and Ernie's Balls, I had some Ernie's Balls somthing to-054 lasted for 2-3 months, and problaby would even longer if I didn't change them. They start ringing in some weeks though but they sound really good even when they're old. Might be my pickups though that can't pickup any difference though as well.
I also tried to break them on purpose, nearly impossible, I sat for 5-15 minutes and picked as hard as I could, tuned as high as I could be bothered, held the guitar by the strings, and lots more bullshit, because I was going to try DR one last time, which of course broke within the week.

tmfreak 2007-02-11 13:05

Quote:
Originally Posted by Virus
DR strings are fucking shit, they sound good in the beginning but they break fucking fast (I have some cheap Vinci strings currently 009-048 and I've tuned them to fucking A and they never break, been using them for over a month now).

I can't recommend anything though as I've only tried DR, D'addario, Vinci and Ernie's Balls, I had some Ernie's Balls somthing to-054 lasted for 2-3 months, and problaby would even longer if I didn't change them. They start ringing in some weeks though but they sound really good even when they're old. Might be my pickups though that can't pickup any difference though as well.
I also tried to break them on purpose, nearly impossible, I sat for 5-15 minutes and picked as hard as I could, tuned as high as I could be bothered, held the guitar by the strings, and lots more bullshit, because I was going to try DR one last time, which of course broke within the week.


I'm using DRs and they most definately do not break fast. I've probably have had the same strings on my Charvel for probably 6 months. I'm way over due for a string change. I must say i enjoy DR 11s quite much.

the_bleeding 2007-02-11 13:12

i've been using d'addario 10-52's for... a long time... since august maybe? I havent switched them yet, and theyre still pretty bright. My fav part about high gauge d'addarios is they just dont rust. My friend plays EB's and his high strings rust out in a month, and mine stay shiny and smooth for 6 :p

Jopop 2007-02-11 13:24

D'Addarios are very bright though to begin with, so when they're worn out they sorta sound like new Ernie Balls i think - Not that i could ever hear the difference when it's distorted to hell and back again, but on clean sounds I can hear it - I judt don't know what i prefer the most, the D'Addarios are more like an acoustic guitar, and the Ernie Ball does that classic jazzy ring :)

Soeru 2007-02-11 14:48

Quote:
Originally Posted by tmfreak
I'm using DRs and they most definately do not break fast. I've probably have had the same strings on my Charvel for probably 6 months. I'm way over due for a string change. I must say i enjoy DR 11s quite much.

Word, I've never broken any DR strings. Just once or twice but it was a wound string(low E and A) because the string block insert on the bridge was too tight.

Valtiel 2007-02-11 17:10

Yea Virus I dont know what you are on about with the DR's, ive never broken one in my life. DR's at times can be inconsistent since they are handmade, but I put up with that because they seem to sound and feel the best.

Jopop 2007-02-12 08:55

Where the hell do i get DR's for cheap?

NVM i found out. Do i want the High-Beams or the Tite-Fit?

Soeru 2007-02-12 10:47

Umm neither. Get the regular DR's, the one with the steel-looking thing on the outside. Ie:

http://www.bcorde.com/images/b_280625_image2.jpg

The last time I bought strings was here:
http://stringsandbeyond.com/

Such a kickass site I'm never gonna buy strings anywhere else. I bought a shitload of strings and picks a few months ago, and even shipped here to the Canary Islands it was still over twice as cheaper as buying strings in a store. A fuckin D'addario 10.5-49 set costs 7 euros here, that's 10 american dollars. Pffft.

Jopop 2007-02-12 13:10

That's Dean Markely? Not DR? :p

Yes i know stringsandbeyond, hehe :) Do they have any picks with a really sharp tip like a Jazz III but with a better grip and maybe a little bigger?

BTW, a pack of D'Addario XL115 is SIXTEEN DOLLARS here. Insane..

Soeru 2007-02-12 13:22

Oh lol. I dunno check their site they probably have those picks. I bought some Jazz III's(red ones, 1.38mm?) together with my Framus cab and Palmer PDI-09(finally decided to keep the Fireball), can't wait to get it. :D

Been curious to play those pics. I hope I get those "better grip" ones.

Jesus fuckin christ that's expensive for a pack o strings.

And get Dean Markley's man they're sick, I've had DM's on my charvel for months too, they still sound and play great, no change in string tension. Apparently the break in just right, and never go out of tune after the first week.


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